Student Spotlight March 2024

    Erin Biesecker (she/they) is a PhD student studying counseling psychology as well as the Inclusive Excellence and Student Success Graduate Assistant in UofL’s Graduate School. She is a first author with Patrick Pössel, professor of counseling and human development, for their published article in Research in Nursing & Health, “Discrimination, cognitive styles, and their associations with adolescents’ mental and physical health." Learn more about Erin in our spotlight below.  

    Q: Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from? What brought you to your program/area of study and, ultimately, to the University of Louisville?   

    A: I am from Bethesda, Maryland, near DC. I came to the University of Louisville to complete my PhD in Counseling Psychology, since it’s the only doctoral program I got into! I didn’t know what career to pursue in college but liked my psychology classes. After being directed to the National Institutes of Health for a post-baccalaureate, I considered different graduate school options. That’s when I decided to seek a graduate program that could leave the door open for either a clinical- or research-focused career. These days, I am leaning toward a clinical career working with counseling clients. 


    Q: How would you describe your area of study/specific research to your grandmother?  

    A: I would tell my grandmother that I am interested in research that’s based in what the transgender/gender diverse community would find helpful in their advocacy efforts. So- it can look like a lot of different things! I like basing my research interests in how the results can be applied to the group that the results are supposed to serve, rather than the ivory tower of academia. (I’m not sure my grandmother would understand what transgender/gender-diverse means, but that’s a conversation for a different day) 


    Q: What made you go into this field of study? What are some of your long-term goals or aspirations?

    A: I got into counseling from being generally focused on the power of relationships to engender change. Generally, I’m a people-focused person, despite being very introverted. I love some good, deep one-on-one conversations, which is what counseling is at the end of the day. 


    Q: What accomplishment, academic or otherwise, are you most proud of?  

    A: My most proud athletic accomplishment was the burrito mile! I first had to completely eat a Chipotle burrito, then run a mile as fast as I could without throwing up (a disqualifier). I successfully completed the entire task, burrito and all, in 11:36, winning the women’s category. 


    Q: What are some of your hobbies/interests outside of work?  

    A: I love snuggling with my two dogs, playing trivia, training for a sprint triathlon, reading far too many books, attending niche band concerts at Zanzabar, and rowing with the community Louisville Rowing Club.  


    Q: Do you have anything you would like to add? 

    A: I have to shout out my cohort members, Fei Bi Chan and Ayla Goktan, who have supported me throughout our program. I would not still be in the program without them.